A group of teens dance outside.

Giles Li Appointed Senior Program Officer for Arts & Creativity

With decades of nonprofit experience and deep roots in community, Li will focus on helping the arts field adapt and thrive amidst change, and bringing the power of arts & creativity to other sectors.

The Barr Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Giles Li, currently CEO of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC), as Senior Program Officer in Arts & Creativity. In this role, Giles will focus on implementing two strategies within the Foundation’s Arts & Creativity portfolio: advancing the field’s capacity to adapt, take risks, and engage changing communities in new ways; and fostering opportunities to connect the arts to other disciplines and sectors.

Giles has served as CEO of Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center since 2013 – and was recognized for his leadership with the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s 2017 Excellence in Leadership Award, and selected as a member of Barr’s 2017 class of Barr Fellows. A published poet and spoken-word performance artist, Giles began at BCNC in 2006 as the first coordinator of its arts program. Giles serves on the boards of directors of Philanthropy Massachusetts and the Quincy Chamber of Commerce, and as an advisor to numerous education, immigration, and community efforts. With more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Giles has a proven track record of direct service, advocacy work, management experience, and collaboration.

Giles Li

Giles Li

Under Giles’ leadership, BCNC led a community visioning process to develop and open the Pao Arts Center in 2017, a unique community-based arts and cultural facility leveraging the strengths of a diverse group of partners, including Bunker Hill Community College, Asian Community Development Corporation, South Cove Community Health Center, and an emerging community of Asian American and Pacific Islander artists. Since its inception, the Pao Arts Center has stepped into a national thought leadership role in the field of “creative placemaking,” asserting the importance of concretely incorporating and appropriately valuing the assets of traditionally-marginalized communities into the planning, outreach, and implementation of placemaking activities.

“Over Giles’ entire career, he has demonstrated a commitment to exploring the potency of arts and culture to individual and community well-being,” says San San Wong, Director of Arts & Creativity. “We are excited and welcome his leadership skills, innovative thinking, and collaborative nature to the Barr Foundation.”

“Over Giles’ entire career, he has demonstrated a commitment to exploring the potency of arts and culture to individual and community well-being.” - San San Wong, Director of Arts & Creativity

“When we invest in the arts, we invest in our own capabilities to imagine a better world, and to work toward making that world a reality, “ said Li. “We also honor and elevate the varied stories, cultures, and traditions in our communities. We learn from them and are enriched by them. I am thrilled to join the Barr Foundation’s Arts & Creativity team in this work of creating more vibrant, vital, and engaged communities.”

Giles will step down at BCNC in late January, and begin at Barr in early February.

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